For those of you who really know me, you know that there is an organization that is near and dear to my heart: 4-H. I was fortunate enough to be a member of 4-H from the time I was 5 years old until I was 18. The activities and projects I was a part of through 4-H were designed to make a leader out of me. But 4-H isn’t just about workshops and retreats; 4-H is about community involvement.
The 4-H program aims to create strong leaders, but to be an effective leader one must be active. In my opinion, one factor that separates great leaders from the good is that great leaders are always willing to step up and reach out. Good leaders only react in crisis situations. 4-H taught me it is my responsibility as a citizen to stay involved in my community. Nobody wants to live in an unsuccessful community so EVERYONE must stay active for the community to thrive. Through my volunteer work with 4-H, I did not feel like I was just some kid; I felt like I was actually a member of the community.
In my 13 years as a member of the 4-H program I participated in countless community service projects. The projects ranged from sustainability efforts to assisting the elderly. Our club cleaned up trash along a local highway, we organized can food drives, baked cookies for 4-H donors, cleaned and made repairs to the local VFW hall and sang Christmas Carols to the elderly in the area. These are only a handful of the projects that I participated in. The variety of volunteer projects I was part of made me the well-rounded person I am today. At a young age I understood the different parts of community and how they must all work together to keep that community up and running. We picked up trash alongside the highway, but while picking up the trash we learned not to litter and the negative effects of littering. There was always something to be learned from the volunteer projects.
The experiences I had while volunteering through 4-H had everlasting effects on me. Today I am still an active volunteer in my community and even though it is my duty to stay involved, I truly enjoy being active in my community and watching it thrive.